In anticipation of the upcoming OHL hockey season, the Kitchener Rangers recently hosted their annual Fan Fest and barbeque, taking the opportunity to reconnect with adoring fans and reignite the buzz of ice hockey. The fan-engagement event took place on a sunny Sunday outside The Aud, a month shy of kicking off the regular season play.
Rangers defenseman, Hunter Brzustewicz, expressed his enthusiasm, voicing genuine delight at being back amidst the fans. He shared, “Their palpable excitement about today and the forthcoming season is truly infectious.”
Brzustewicz is poised for his second full season with the Rangers. His promising progress didn’t go unnoticed, securing a selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL Entry Draft held in June.
“It’s a thrilling sight, reuniting with my teammates after months and meeting the new additions to the team,” he added.
Among the newcomers is Luca Romano, one of the Rangers’ initial round picks for 2023. Cracking the team’s 23-man roster, he conveys pride in the team, its passionate fan base, and the potential-filled future that lies ahead for them in Kitchener.
For the players, the ultimate expectation remains to make a memorable run for the playoffs. Still, this particular Sunday was notable for reasons beyond hockey aspirations.
Longtime fan Hudsyn Dempsey shared the excitement that comes with seeing the team take shape, “It’s thrilling to see all the new players and envision what the team will look like this year.”
In synchrony with the fan festivities, the Rangers rolled into their preseason with a home game against the Oshawa Generals. All proceeds from the ticket sales were graciously directed towards the Make-A-Wish charity based in Canada.
Ryan Schaefer, a parent attending the event, shared his sentiment. He said, “Seeing these guys beyond their TV personas and newspaper features is quite fantastic. It presents kids with an understanding of the effort behind the glory and the sheer possibility of a dream becoming a reality.”
Amidst all the celebration, the Rangers didn’t lose sight of the game, securing a 5-3 preseason win against the Generals, much to the delight of their ardent fans.